Sunrun vs SolarCity

Jordan Grimmer
Jordan Grimmer | Senior Editor
Sunrun and SolarCity are two of the largest, most recognizable companies in the solar industry. Both of these solar giants have been in business for more than a decade and have helped hundreds of thousands of customers switch to solar. While Sunrun and SolarCity are somewhat similar in terms of what they offer, there are a few important differences to note.

SUNRUN

SOLARCITY

Pros

  • Customized systems
  • 25-year maintenance with leasing or PPA
  • Roof warranties available
  • Emphasis on transparency
  • Monitoring services
  • Battery storage

Pros

  • Panels outperform others by 10 years
  • Emphasis on contract transparency
  • System monitoring through Tesla app
  • Battery storage
  • Solar bonds available
  • Rewards for referring friends

Cons

  • Outsourced installations in remote areas

Cons

  • Customer dissatisfaction with installations
  • Customer service complaints

Bottom line

Sunrun is advantageous for leasing or PPA customers because maintenance is included for 25 years. Monitoring services are also provided by the company.

Bottom line

SolarCity offers Tesla solar panels and monitoring through an app. It's also attractive for the opportunity to buy solar bonds and its referral rewards.

Sunrun logo verified_user
#21 Sunrun
7.6 Overall Score
3.6
star star star star_half star_border
(1,619)
SolarCity logo
#77 SolarCity
4.3 Overall Score
2.7
star star star_half star_border star_border
(698)

Overview

Sunrun

Best Panels Available

Canadian Solar

Best Inverter Available

SolarEdge

Workmanship Warranty

20 Years

Equipment Warranty

25 Years

Payment Options Available
check Buy
check Lease
check Loan
check PPA
Time in Business

14 Years

SolarCity

SolarCity

SolarCity

10 Years

20 Years

check Buy
check Lease
check Loan
check PPA

15 Years

Ratings

Sunrun

Overall Score
7.6 of 10
Review Score
3.6
star star star star_half star_border
Value for Money
3.4
star star star star_half star_border
Quality of Product or Service
3.4
star star star star_half star_border
Company Trustworthiness
3.4
star star star star_half star_border
Likely to Recommend
6.4 of 10

SolarCity

4.3 of 10
2.7
star star star_half star_border star_border
2.3
star star star_half star_border star_border
2.3
star star star_half star_border star_border
2.0
star star star_border star_border star_border
2.4 of 10

Reviews

Sunrun

Number of Reviews
1,619
Review Breakdown
3.6
star star star star_half star_border
5 star
46%
4 star
16%
3 star
8%
2 star
6%
1 star
24%

SolarCity

698
2.7
star star star_half star_border star_border
5 star
30%
4 star
10%
3 star
3%
2 star
7%
1 star
50%

Reviews for Sunrun

Helpful Favorable Review

star star star star star

Brent Stafford, VA

Sunrun/Vivint Solar Customer service is top notch. I got multiple quotes and all in line but the quality of the panels are better. They don't try to stick you with a low quality system to maximize thier profits. Hugo vs BMW. Great communications and follow thru.

2 months ago

Helpful Critical Review

star star_border star_border star_border star_border

kevin daly Greenbrae, CA

Agree with the previous review. Vivint is hands down the worst vendor we have ever used on our home. Panels and wall batteries installed 5 months ago and still not connected, and no firm date when they will be connected. Would be nice if we could blame PG&E but can’t. In fact, at one point PG&E showed up for a scheduled appointment and Vivint was a no show!! Inexcusable and frankly ridiculous Kevin D

1 week ago

Reviews for SolarCity

Helpful Favorable Review

star star star star star_border

Sawyer D Ogden, UT

Thanks for allowing a system size under 3 KW. I was told you wouldn't for a loan, but for cash, you did. Haven't had any technical issues. I'm afraid if I did, I'd be on my own or face long long hold times. Also, your offer of move the panels for $2000 is too good to be true. They should have insisted on attic run for conduit. Very nice crew, they did offer some special install services, but attic run should have been seriously impressed on me.

2 years ago

Helpful Critical Review

star star_border star_border star_border star_border

Nancy Wilson Estacada, OR

I had a great experience with SolarCity before they sold my contract to Tesla. The poor reviews echo my experience completely. I agree we should somehow band together. Tesla charges me every month for panels that haven’t worked since SolarCity sold me. I refuse to pay these robbers and my bill is huge and unpaid.

1 month ago

The Final Word

Availability
Sunrun and SolarCity both provide solar services in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Washington D.C. Sunrun also operates in Florida, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico, while SolarCity does not. However, SolarCity offers service in Oregon and Washington, while Sunrun does not.

Payment Options
Both Sunrun and SolarCity offer a variety of ways for customers to get a solar energy system on their roof, including outright purchases, loans, leases, and power purchase agreements (PPAs). Sunrun has a bit of an edge in terms of solar leasing and PPA agreements, as the company pioneered those options and made them a large part of its business model today.

Equipment
Sunrun utilizes high-quality equipment from reputable manufacturers such as Canadian Solar and SolarEdge for its projects, while SolarCity manufactures its own solar equipment, including Tesla’s Solar Roof product, which is a unique option within the industry.

Installations
While Sunrun performs most of its solar installations with its own crews, the company will occasionally outsource installations on remote homes to third parties, which may lead to variance in workmanship quality and overall experience. SolarCity, on the other hand, does not outsource any of its installations, but some customers have reported problems with delayed and incorrect installations.

Warranties
With up to a 25-year equipment warranty and a 20-year workmanship warranty, Sunrun offers lengthier product and labor coverage than SolarCity, which provides a 20-year equipment warranty and a 10-year workmanship warranty.

Battery Storage
Both Sunrun and SolarCity offer battery storage options. Sunrun’s battery storage option is called Brightbox, and it can be purchased or leased. SolarCity provides Tesla Powerwall batteries, which are compact and made to seamlessly integrate with other SolarCity equipment, but must be purchased; there is no lease option.

Referral Program
Sunrun and SolarCity both offer a referral program. Sunrun pays customers $350 for each friend they refer to the company, while SolarCity offers a $250 referral payout.

Recommendation
Sunrun and SolarCity offer similar payment options and battery storage selection. Sunrun has a bigger service area than SolarCity, offers longer equipment and workmanship warranties, and provides a larger referral bonus. For these reasons, Sunrun is recommended over SolarCity for individuals who live within the company’s operational area.

Top Choice

Sunrun Logo
Sunrun

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